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Just Sit: A Meditation Guidebook for People Who Know They Should But Don't Hardcover – December 26, 2017
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From the Back Cover
Reasons You Should Read This Book:
- Because you recommend meditation to everyone else, but don’t do it yourself
- Because you get angry at yourself for getting angry
- Because your yoga mat has been sitting in the corner for years
- Because the pills aren’t working
- Because you haven’t taken a deep breath since the last time you jumped into a pool
- Because you think meditation isn’t for you...but you’re wrong
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Just Sit starts with the basics and expands and builds on that starting point. You're going to want to read from front to back instead of flipping around. (which is my usual tendency with non fiction books)
What is meditation? There's a brief chapter on the history. Why would you want to meditate? The health benefits are simply put - astounding. And it's backed up by medical studies. Seriously, I could not believe what just sitting and breathing would affect. And that's the thing - it's simply sitting still and breathing. How to meditate? There are chapters on what might or might not work for you. Remember there is no set 'must do' agenda. Equipment (a cushion!) or not, time, place, postures, mantras, focus, chakras, breathing, exercises, mindfulness and so much more.
I bookmarked so many pages as I read - there is a wealth of information here that needs to read more than once. Now, having done that first read through, I am going to start with the basics (There's an eight week plan for beginners) and only progress when I feel ready to move on. As you do progress, there's some great strategies and ideas for dealing with your crap. You know what I mean - we all have unresolved issues that needs to be dealt with - both past and present.
All of this is presented in a really great format. Lots of illustrations, text boxes and white space make the information appealing and easy to read. And its written with candor and humour.
The most important piece I've taken away so far? Yep, it's that easy - just sit. Find the time - if it's only a minute to start, that's great. You started. Do it again tomorrow. And the next day. This is an awesome book for anyone looking to explore mediation - and themselves. Absolutely recommended.
As I started reading the book, I was further enamored by the repeated illustration of the foxes in meditation pose - simple, eyes closed, mudra, fluffy tails supporting their knees (do foxes have knees?), cushion, buddy meditating, peaceful...and the beginnings of the mantra that actually runs throughout the book.
Basically, meditation is a practice...and just like anything else we might choose to add more of to our lives, meditation takes practice...and a letting go...no analyzing...no judgement...no blaming others...an acceptance of ourselves and our lives, who we are and out place in the world...and just being.
But you have to Sit.
There's a lot in the book about Why people choose to meditate or Why they should and then the Hows of meditation with suggested "exercises" for building a practice as well as specific meditations for varying times in our lives.
But the bottom line is you have to Do it.
The parts of the book that I enjoyed were:
the history lessons - meditation has been around for 5000 years...that's a lot of interesting stuff to learn about :)
humor - the authors take their own advice and don't take themselves too seriously...their humor made the book feel more personable and not like just an instruction manual,
the illustrations - the graphic novel feel,
the instructions with illustrations - the best I've seen really,
the yellow boxes throughout - famous meditators,
the pink boxes throughout - "Notes from the Cushion
the biological explanations of why meditation works, the vagus, the fight or flight, the chakras (I did want more explanation of the suggested colors here in the chakras section),
the end of multi tasking
8 weeks to build a practice - I'm definitely going to do this...the other section that I multi starred for a return visit is the section on Loving Kindness meditation...I know I will do this.
With all those positives, why the 3 star review?
repetition - I know the phrase "Just Sit" is the title and the main point the authors are trying to make...but...I wish I had a dollar...
I smirked right along with the authors until pg. 78 when they mentioned making time for meditation "before your afternoon chardonnay or AA meeting."
pg. 83 "make it a double" innuendo
Chapter 6 and 7 felt out of place to me...almost as if these chapters could be an explanation or justification as to why anyone would want to meditate in the first place.
Meditating as a way to self soothe (23, 42) ...but repeated mentions of drugs, alcohol, and/or hangovers...(it seemed counter productive to me...if you're learning to self-soothe via meditation as is the author's literal and inferred suggestion, why would you continue to use other substances...why especially would the authors actually discuss drinking and meditation at the same time? (129)
In an otherwise very valuable section of the book on mudras, the authors purport that the "chin mudra" is good for "...heavy drinkers and potheads" (121)
"Don't be a Quitter" as the subtitle for the question on drinking and meditation...huh?
Pg. 97 "Help and Support" - the author suggest googling phrases like "save me"
"I think I have a drinking problem" "I want out"...as phrases to find meditation aids...
I couldn't help but feel the areas in the book where someone who really might need help shouldn't have been treated so glibly.
pg. 154 - suggesting meditation as a aid for dealing with depression instead of medication.
Now hear me out here.
Of all the fantastic, well thought, researched even sections of this book, this one very important section is basically 3 short sentences as an answer to someone who "struggles with depression"...the authors do later on suggest that someone who is struggling seek outside help...I just think this section is dangerous.
Overall, I did like the book.
I will keep it on my shelf and most definitely refer to it as I push myself to do what I believe the authors truly intended their readers to do:
I more than likely will not recommend this book to those who are hurting, or are in early recovery.